tv State of the Union CNN June 27, 2010 9:00am-10:00am EDT
a another weekend or two. thank you for hanging out with us this weekend. >> absolutely. >> now, we are heading over to washington with "state of the union," and candy crowley, it starts now. a new commander will soon head to afghanistan as critics say it's time for a new strategy, too. but that's a no-go at the white house. president obama last december. >> we will pursue a strategy that will break the taliban's momentum and increase afghanistan's capacity. >> make no mistake, we have a clear goal. we will break the taliban's momentum. we are going to build afghan capacity. >> more than two thirds of the additional troops of the president ordered in afghanistan in december are there now, but the taliban's momentum is not
broken and the price is high. in december, 13 americans were killed in afghanistan. so far this month, 46 are dead. a toll that may be moving this country. in december, 52% of americans said the war was worth the fight. this month, only 44% say the war is worth it. >> we say to the american people, this is a change in personnel, but this is not a change in policy. >> the question is why not? many of those asking are democrats. today as congress moves quickly to confirm general david petraeus as the president's new man in afghanistan. >> define winning as making progress, and i think we are winning. >> we are assessing the state of war with the senate armed services committee, jack reid, and chandlis. and democrat, robert menendez, and republican john cornyn. i am candy crowley, and this is
"state of the union." the congressional critics of the afghanistan include many. the doubts are strong and bipartisan. >> i don't think the administration knows how this war comes to an end. i don't think that there is a clearly defined mission. i don't think anybody can define what winning is. >> i would urge the president to look at this as a chance to put new people on the ground without old baggage. if we don't change quickly we will lose a war we cannot afford to lose. joining me now, two people of the confirmation hearing being held later this week. thank you for both. i want to start with some of the questions posed in the opening. chand list, first to you, one of the things that caught me now in the famous "rolling stone"
article, was a quote from general bill mayville. he had this to say about afghanistan. it's not going to look like a win, smell like a win or taste like a win. this is going to end in an argument, talking about the u.s. effort in afghanistan. when does the u.s. look at this and say there is no -- this seems to me to be the prelude to there is no way to win this in a satisfactory way, and when is it time to say we have done what we can, we're leaving? >> this is not a conventional war. there are geographical areas we are fighting the war in, and there are political issues that far and away are the most difficult that we encountered in any conflict we have been in. if we win militarily, and i think the ton the is there to do that. i think general mcchrystal was moving us in that direction and
petraeus will. but on the other side, what i think is a more significant and difficult issue is, you have the most corrupt government that we have ever dealt with from a conflict standpoint. until you provide stability and confidence in the afghan people about the way forward from a governing standpoint, then i think that statement probably has some truth to it, that we could win militarily, and still have a very ugly victory. >> and senator reid, isn't that the problem, the military doesn't seem to be the problem. we send them in and they do their job, but the fact of the matter is, the karzai government in afghanistan does not seem to be living up to its half of the bargain. i was struck this morning by an article which talked about hamid karzi discussing with the taliban and afghanistan talking about power sharing against the
very people in afghanistan who were u.s. allies to begin with. it's so convoluted at this point there does not seem a way out. >> well, the civilian dip plact will be more in the south. the real key is the diplomatic and the political capacity of the afghanis. there is a role and there is a significant role for the american advisers, and for others there. there is also a role for aid, and a role to build capacity in the afghani government, and not just military capacity, but governmental capacity, delivering services. >> well, let me turn to senator chambliss. the afghan government's ability
to get services to people has been fairly weak, if not nonexistent. what do you think about our diplomatic effort? one of the things republicans are saying is it's also time for a change in the civilian leadership. they talk about ambassador eikenberry and holbrook saying the civilian half of this equation has not done well and it's time to clear house? >> well, i think that out to be looked at. right now as general petraeus comes in with his team of military leaders, they have to work hand and hand with the civilian side. it's an opportunity for the president to take a look at it. ambassador holbrooke has a very strong record that can be looked back on, but the fact is, i don't think he even talks to karzai now. should somebody in a strong leadership position have an on going dialogue with the president of the country? i would say yes, and apparently that's not the case right now.
>> senator reid -- >> i do think there is the opportunity for the president to look at both the military side and the civilian side because they have to work hand and hand if we are ever going to come to some stable government in afghanistan. >>is it time for anybody to go? do you have faith in this team? >> first of all, general petraeus will get on the ground. he has been very effective in pulling together in iraq not only the american effort but also the effort of the host country. i think he will be equally successful in afghanistan. i think everybody recognizes both the civilian side and military side that there has to be a unified effort and a concentration on assisting the afghan afghanis, but it will be the afghani's effort. how will we know when we win? the same way in iraq.
the burden of the battle is being born by their forces, not the american forces. we will be able to focus on regional counterterrorism, not country specific counter insurgency. that's when we know we will win, just like when we know we were winning in iraq. >> is u.s. ambassador eikenberry in afghanistan, in kabul, is he the best person for the job given a nonexistent relationship with the president of the country that we need to step forward with? >> i have been with ambassador eikenberry with president karzai, and they have a relationship. sometimes he has to tell things to president karzai that he doesn't want to do. there has to be somebody there that tells him, that suggests to him, he is a sovereign, but to suggest to him there are certain steps. we have to have somebody there
willing to be firm, not offensive, but firm to the government of afghanistan. >> you think he's the right man in place? >> i think they have a team now in place that can get the job done. they all retain the confidence of the president and they have to work together. okay. when we return, inching toward success in marjah.
when general david petraeus takes over command in afghanistan, his first most urgent problem may be with the ousted mcchrystal, famously called a bleeding ulcer. marjah was supposed to be the show piece of the clear hold and build strategy. the idea was to use the military to clear out the taliban and then win the hearts of the community with better services and a workable power structure. four months into the marjah
operation, "time" magazine offers an assessment. it depends on what your metric is for clear. they're obviously not gone. and they're not going to be gone. taliban intimidation of civilians is rampant. but robert gates recently testified the gloom and doom reports are premature, and the marjah effort needs more time. >> the reality is the military operations in marjah were successful, and a place that had been controlled by the taliban is no longer controlled by the taliban. getting the civilian coalition and afghan forces in there, the civilian officials building the development programs is moving forward, but it is moving slower
we're back with our senators. senator chambliss to you, leon pennetta is assessing the strength in the taliban, and he says in some ways it's weaker and in some ways stronger. this is not a recipe of success. >> in the regions of afghanistan, some tribal regions are stronger than others, and the taliban has the ability to come in in the middle of the night and intimidate and threaten people, and in a lot of instances kill people to demand their loyalty. in those areas, the people are
hesitant to get onboard with the american effort, the nato effort. but there are other regions where we have gained ground. marjah is one where militarily, i would have to agree with what secretary gates said, he is right on, we have done well military, but when you look at the civilian side, there are issues, very difficult issues. so i would say that leon's statement is probably pretty well correct. there is where we have concentrated military, and we have done well, but you have to give up something when you do that, and insert areas the taliban gained in strength because they moved troops there. >> it sounds to me, senator reid, a little bit like whack a mole, and we move them over here and then they pop up somewhere else. again, there is not the civilian reinforcement that has yet to move in to marjah and be successful at any rate. and then we are talking about
next year at this time we will be preparing to remove u.s. troops. a lot of people don't think that's realistic? >> first, the taliban was able to reconstitute itself particularly in the south, and they developed intra cut networks, and essentially they were the power. we are along with the afghani forces, trying to take back the provinces. it's a difficult fight. >> we did not know it would be this tough to do the whole operation? >> i think the assumption was, and very clearly, general mcchrystal at that time and admiral mullin and secretary gates said it would be a difficult summer, we are going into the home ground, if you will, of the taliban, and they had years to reconstitute themselves, and they are supported in save hafens in back stan. this is a tough fight, unfor
xh unfortunately. the afghani's have to prevail and be enforced down there. recruitment for the army and police is beginning to show progress. but it takes a while to get them in the fight and have them trained effectively. >> and the afghan troops are not as willing to put their life on the lines like the u.s. troops are, and there is a high incident of drug use. >> they have not yet been an effective fighting force. we have tried several times over the last almost eight years to train an afghan national army. it has failed and been resurrected, and now we are focusing with some of the best people, general coalwell is trying to develop a afghani fighting force that will be capable. we saw the same problems in iraq, but they started with a much higher level. they had a professional military
force that was reasonably well trained. we are not starting with that kind of benchmark in afghanistan. >> senator chambliss, one of the other things that pennetta said, right now he figures there are 50 to 100 al qaeda operatives in afghanistan. the whole reason we went into afghanistan was that that is where al qaeda was. they were obviously being protected by the taliban, and al qaeda was there and we wanted to break the back of al qaeda in afghanistan because of what happened on 9/11. now we are in there with 94,000 troops. you see how people might look at that and go why are we still there? what do we owe afghanistan at this point? >> well, what jack just described is exactly the case from the standpoint of having a safe haven in back stan. leon pennetta is exactly right, the number of al qaeda is fairly minimal right now.
they go back and forth across the border. they are providing tactical information to the taliban. they are working hand and hand with them, and we see a lot of al qaeda presence, but we don't necessarily see individuals. by that i mean from a training standpoint from an operation standpoint from a weapons standpoint, you are seeing a lot of influence, but you don't necessarily see a lot of al qaeda individuals there. however if we left today, candy, afghanistan would be the same training ground for al qaeda that we saw in 2000, and readleg up to 2001. that's why it's important that we continue the fight and continue until we prevail with respect to the elimination of afghanistan as a training ground for those that want to kill and harm the americans.
>> here are three very short yes or no questions. first to senator reid. do you have faith that hamid karzi is up to getting his country together enough for us to be able to begin to leave? >> he is the elected president, the democratic elected president. he has to succeed and we have to help him. that burden is at this point i thicken known. but we cannot change horses. we need to make sure he will do the job he is elected to do. >> do you think u.s. troops will begin to with draw by next year at this time? >> i do. the with draw being subject to the commanders on the ground. it will not represent a significant, i think, complete pullout of american forces, but it will be as we do in iraq, begin to lower our presence and take the fight. >> finally, is it important anymore that we track down osama bin laden, who according to director pennetta we have not seen -- >> i think it's important to
keep on the pressure no matter where they are. >> the same to you, do you think hamid karzi is up to the job we need him to do? >> he is week, and he has been elected by the afghan people, and we have an obligation to recognize that and support him. >> number two, do you think u.s. forces will begin to with draw this time next year? >> i think it's a huge mistake to put that deadline out there, because the enemy is watching and you can rest assure that they will be looking to see if we in fact intend to begin pulling out come july 1 of 2011. if that remains a hard and firm date, then you better believe they will sit back and allow us to start pulling out and then hit us with their full force. >> finally, how important is it to find osama bin laden? >> from a symbolic standpoint it's important that we find him and take him out, but, gosh, we
about eliminated his ability to provide assistant to al qaeda. we have taken out once again his number three in rank of al qaeda, and he was the operations guy. whoever comes in next, certainly you might want to buy a life insurance policy on him. but getting bin laden is important, and what we need to make sure is take out the folks that are providing the operational leadership on the ground, and we are doing that. >> senators, thank you so much. i appreciate it. when we come back, the first verse of our political state of the union. [ children laughing ] suitcase? huh? ♪ where do gummy bears hide? under the seat. look! yeah! ♪ [ telephone rings ] [ male announcer ] the all new chevy equinox. [ man ] guess who?
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political races that can alter the landscape. democrats are in control with a. there is a chance republicans could significantly change that bottom line. there are 36 senate seats up for grabs this fall, evenly split between the two parties. according to the respected cook report, 11 of the democratic seats are vulnerable to a republican takeover, versus five republican slots. to win back the senate republicans have to hold on to their own seats and pick up 10 democratic seats, not impossible but improbable. still, without dispute, the republicans have the wind at their back. now, a new wall street journal nbc poll finds the republicans have the race change. still, hold off on a victory lap, but a poll shows americans are angry at both parties.
joining me now in an exclusive interview, chairman of the national republican committee, and chairman of the senate campaign committee. i want to start out with the overall mood of the country. i know pollsters, and we at cnn look at the right track and wrong track poll, and it's a good indicator of how the election will go. and right direction, 29%. wrong track, 62%. that's not the best atmospheric
for democrats. >> well, candy, you know, we inherited an committee driven into the ditch by republicans, two wars unpaid for, a tax cut to a trillion -- >> let me ask you one thing. democrats do say this, and i understand it, but you have voted and most democrats voted to continue paying for the war and funding for the war. as far as i know, i have not found a lot of democrats saying let's repeal the tax cuts in the middle of what is still a shaky economy. >> first of all, i think that you have to understand where we came from to understand where we're going, and part of it is that my republican colleagues like to start the present in january of 2009, and they forget the history that brought us to january in 2009, and the consequences that we are in, and those are consequences on tax cuts unpaid for and two wars unpaid for and a new entitlement
program unpaid for and a economy flat lined and this president is trying to rerooif vive it on al with democrats. just like the health care bill, we will pay for everything that we are doing fundamentally different than the republican colleagues, who walked away from the deficit commission, the bipartisan deficit commission that seven of them were co-authors of and then voted against. >> did you start the spending spree? the polls show that americans still do overwhelmingly blame republicans for the current state of affairs? . >> i am waiting for this administration to take responsibility for the job it volunteered for. the fact of the matter was that in 2008, the last year president bush yauz in office, the deficit was 3.2% of the gross domestic product, and so it's 10%.
it's tripled. people are tired. you ask about the right track and wrong track. people are tied of reckless spending and unsustainable debt. they're worried this president wants to pivot, as he claimed that he does, to job creation and instead we get more spending and debt and job-killing policies. >> when you look at it, senator menendez, i think what people totally understand -- they understand debt, they get it, basically. you are not supposed to spend more than you actually have. but i think to me, one of the biggest figures in everybody's head is the unemployment rate that is at 10%. i want to show you first a picture of president obama, who this week went to columbus, ohio, to stand at the road project paid for by the stimulus plan. a year after the stimulus plan is passed, the president is still out selling it, which says
to me it has not been an easy sell. people don't believe -- there has been a lot of bang for the buck spent. >> first of all, there are millions of americans still unemployed, and we understand that. that's why we are trying to work every day to move an economic agenda forward. our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, they use fill b busters to stop it. a stimulus package, think about visiting somebody in the emergency room, if the heart monitor flat lined, you have an emergency. we are trying to revive the economy, and that's why we see job growth versus job losses, and we see the growth better than in 2009, and that's why we are concentrated like a laser beam on moving the economy forward and creating jobs.
we cannot create those jobs overnight because of the policies in the past. >> i want to read you something joe biden said at a fund-raiser in milwaukee, and it's friday. there is no way to regenerate the $3 trillion that was lost, not misplaced, but lost. that seems to me to be a peculiar message, saying there is no way to restore the jobs. >> i this what the vice president meant is we are not going to do it in a short timeframe. we have to work to restore each and every job and create opportunity and hope for every american. but anybody that believes after eight years of policies that drove us in the economic ditch, can you get out overnight and create 10 million jobs miraculously. that's why the poll says the americans understand who caused the economic situation.
democratic overall message as i understand it is things are a whole lot better than if we had not taken over, and it's still we're cleaning up the republican mess. the republican's message is no, they made it worse. have i summarized the election? >> no accountability or responsibility for a year and a half of governing, and things have gotten worse and not better. but, candy, my basic message is -- >> there is growth, yes? >> if you like the way things are happening in washington these days, then ve for senator menendez slate of candidates, and if you want change and to cut down on the reckless spending, if you want us to really focus on job creation and incentives for the private sector to create jobs, then i think our candidates bear a close looking at. >> you would concede there has been a economic growth?
>> engross domestic product, not because they have been hiring people because of the political turmoil, wondering what is going to happen to them next. more burdens. things like the health care bill that we are learning all the promises about the health care bill, most have proven to be untrue in terms of lowering the cost. we have seen increased taxes and premiums that are caused by the government mandates, and the cuts in medicare are having a negative impact on access to health care in the country. >> three people put together a little montage here. i think you will recognize all of them. here they are. >> the tea party express has played an integral role in this victory tonight. they were the first ones to jump
in and say we can do this. we can take back our country. our country deserves better. >> i have a message, a message from the tea party, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words, we have come to take our country back. >> let me just say, from nevada to kentucky to florida, you, the republican establishment didn't back any of those candidates, and yet they won. what is the message to senator cornyn and his group about what the republican party wants out there? >> well, we are proud to support three of these individuals that bear the republican standard go into the election. >> but it was not who you wanted. >> we want the candidates that
can win in november. we respect the choice of the voters in each of those primaries, but i think what you will do our democratic friends do somethiing is trying to char them as out of the mainstream or marginize them. they have not been involved in the political process, or not very much, and they want to take the country back. i say more power to them. >> in that, they are tired of some of the republican party choices? ch >> independents are going 2 to 1 for republican candidates in massachusetts, and new jersey, and i think we will see the trend continue in november. so it's -- i think what they want are checks and balance yunss on single party power. >> in north carolina linea, and
south carolina, as well as pennsylvania, the democratic party did not get the candidates they backed. is there something in that that says to you all, that within the democratic party there is a similar movement, if not as sort of a headline kind of movement, of democrats saying we don't want you all backing these people, we'll decide? >> candy in several of the states we were not engaged, except for pennsylvania -- >> well, elaine marshal, you did not back her, you backed cunningham. >> we did not have a choice in south carolina. maybe the state party d. but we did not have a choice in south carolina. i understand why john says what he says. basically he did not want those candidates. it's not that they are part of the tea party. i respect people want to get involved in the government, but it's they are out of the mainstream. sharon angle wants to bring
radioactive waste to -- >> we're talking about the nevada race here. and that's harry reid's seat. let's talk about nevada. >> they are out of the mainstream in that respect. >> that's the kind of thing that you say that you expect, but if you look at the nevada race right now, senator reid, who is the democratic leader, the majority leader in the u.s. senate is still behind in the local polls to somebody that you think is out of the mainstream, and yet the tea party candidate, sharron angle is still ahead in the polls. why is that? >> when they understand what she stands for, going ahead and privatizing social security, and having stood against named the worse legislature by the nevada newspapers for two years, the bottom line is put that against harry reid that fought against radio waste in yucka mountain,
and that's going to be a clear choice. that's what all of the elections are going to be about, not the national normal. choices between the republicans that want to take us back to the failed economic policies, and a democratic that bring us opportunities. and coming up, we will get the senator's thoughts on elena kagan when we come back. ♪ [ male announcer ] imagination. it's the most powerful resource on earth. and at ge, we're using it, right now, to create innovative technology that will improve the health of our economy... tealth of therth... ♪ ...and the health of its people.
we are back with senators john cornyn and robert menendez. we have the supreme court hearings for elena kagan, which open tomorrow. you now voiced some real uncertainty about her. does she meet at this point the sort of miss giving level there now is that would warrant any kind of filibuster? >> the burden of proof is on the nominee. the senate has a constitutional role of advice and consent. the burden is on the nominee, and the problem is that mrs. kagan has a sparse record. she has not been a judge, which is not a disqualifier, but that means we don't have a judicial
record like we did with sotomayor. what we do know -- >> sandra day o'connor was in politics before she got in the supreme court, and people don't think politics enter into her decisions. >> that's the question, can you take off the mantle. i think the jury is still out on mrs. kagan. >> you don't think at this point, you don't see any signs of a republican filibuster? >> i think it's simply premature. we know she expressed hostility to second amendment flights, and she was not sympathetic to gun owners. we know that on a number of areas of the hot-button issues of the day, she is very much involved, and refusing military recruiters to come to harvard, and not understanding it
violated the congressionally passed solid amendment. >> knowing his, you know, the sorts of people that he was looking at -- >> well, this says something about the president as well as the nominee, and clearly this president is trying to get somebody through who has a very sparse record and who he believes will be a reliable vote on the left wing of the supreme court. yes, he could have nominated somebody in the mainstream who i am sure would have been willing to confirm. >> i am going to assume you will vote for elena kagan -- >> i think john and some of his colleagues, if they had ten angels coming from above and wearing she was qualified and would follow the rule of law and precedent, they would say too exeme. elena kagan, endorsed by the
last 25 solicitor generals, republican and democrats alike. she is going excellent supreme court justice and i'm looking forward to it. >> i'm looking for the angels. >> they probably won't be coming into this stoout studio. thank you senator john cornyn and senator menendez. appreciate it. up next, a check of today's top stories. and then president obama may carry a blackberry, but that doesn't mean he's a know-it-all when it comes to social networking. and at ge, we're using it, right now, to create innovative technology that will improve the health of our economy... the health of the earth... ♪ ...and the health of its people. ♪ ♪
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time for a check of today's top stories. on day 69 of the gulf oil spill, a new concern. tropical storm alex. the first storm of the atlantic hurricane season is currently moving along mexico's yukkatan peninsula and is not a threat to the spill area. nonessential spill workers are being evacuated but if alex changes course, the storm could bring oil recovery and cleanup efforts to a standstill. china's president has accepted an invitation from president obama to visit the united states. the invitation was extended during a private meeting between the two leaders at the g-20 summit in toronto. u.s. officials have been urging
china to relax control over its currency to help boost the global economy. china says it will allow its currency to appreciate and is also working to increase imports from the united states. police in toronto are preparing for more disruptions and violence today at the g-20 summit. groups of protesters burned cars, threw bricks and smashed windows outside of the meeting yesterday. in some instances, police used pepper spray, tear gas and beanbag pellets. over 300 demonstrators have been arrested so far. iranian officials are dismissing the latest u.s. sanctions against their country. one member of the iranian parliament says the measures will backfire against the united states. this past week, both the house and senate approved new sanctions aimed at getting iran to suspend its nuclear program. the u.n. security council is also imposing tough new measures against the islamic republic. and soccer fans around the world are gearing up for one of the marquee matches of the world cup. england versus germany.
the two rivals will start playing in johannesburg in just a few minutes. but for the united states, the world cup journey is over after comebacks in all of its previous matches. the u.s. soccer team lost to ghana, 2-1 in overtime yesterday. ghana is the only remaining african country of the eight teams still contending for the world cup. those of your top stories here on "state of the union." up next, president obama's social networking gaffe. [ female announcer ] number one dad lost his number one status when he forgot to make the morning coffee. so world's best mom was more than happy to make a cup of delicious starbucks via. she got to the office just in time to save best friend forever from the office coffee. best friend forever bravely shared starbucks via with don't talk to me until my second cup before he even had his first. he shared it with i hate mondays who had three cups because it was, after all, monday. premium starbucks via ready brew. now available wherever you buy groceries.
♪ less travel? more video conferences? limit the cell phone minutes. that's not good enough. we're not leaving this room unless we can cut something else. can they really keep us here? what about all this stuff? what stuff? all this stuff. what does it cost to create all this? time, effort, people. how much? it could be millions. ♪ millions. [ male announcer ] save money. trust your business processes to xerox. xerox. ready for real business. ♪ my country ♪ 'tis of thee ♪ sweet land ♪ of liberty ♪ of thee i sing [ laughs ] ♪ oh, land ♪ where my fathers died ♪ land of the pilgrims' pride ♪ from every mountainside ♪ let freedom ring
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for a 30-tablet free trial offer, go to cialis.com. nobody ever used the internet the way candidate obama and company did. the e-mails, text messages and other forms of social networking formed a campaign community in a fearsome fund-raising machine. now the president and lady gaga are in a neck and neck competition to become the first living person to have 10 million facebook fans. and remember, this is a guy who refused to give up his blackberry when he took office. and 4.3 million people follow his tweets, like this one. speaking to the press after a meet with general mcchrystal. watch live at 1:30 p.m. eastern. so this week, when the president at an old-fashioned news conference, ran through the russian president's u.s. itinerary, a technological faux pas did not go unnoticed. >> maybe his first stop was at
silicon valley, the hub of technology here in the united states. and then he flew to washington to visit our tech-savvy president. >> and during his visit to silicon valley this week, he visited the headquarter of twitters where he opened his own account. >> twitters? what is that? like a combination of twitter and twizzlers. sound to me like somebody's been talking to president bush. >> i hear there's rumors on the internets. >> you may have guessed by now. president obama does not tweet from his own twitter account. you can follow us at twitter.com/cnnsotu. ours is written by a very talented combs. thank you for watching "state of the union." i'm candy crowley in washington. "world report" is next for our international viewers. for everyone else, "fareed for everyone else, "fareed zakaria gps" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com